Compass sees a strong 2010 as sales surge

City A.M. Reporter
COMPASS Group, the world’s biggest caterer, reported an upturn in trading as new business wins showed its recession-proof credentials, pushing its shares to their highest level in almost nine years.

The group, which feeds office workers, soldiers and school children, said organic revenue grew 1.5 per cent in the quarter to 31 March compared with declining sales in the previous two quarters and said it expects growth to continue through the current year, prompting analysts to upgrade forecasts.

Shares in Compass, which have risen by nearly 20 per cent since the start of the year, closed 0.09 per cent lower at 526p, having earlier been as high as 535p, their highest since June 2001.

Compass, which counts Chelsea Football Club, London’s O2 arena, the Bank of England and the US Senate among its clients, said the improved performance reflected a high rate of new business wins across its business and easier year-on-year comparatives.

“While economic conditions are expected to remain challenging, the combination of a strong new business pipeline and a stabilisation in like-for-like volume should deliver modest organic revenue growth,” it said.

Compass said its performance in the healthcare, education and defence sectors was steady, while in the business, sports and leisure sectors sales were down on last year but showing signs of stabilisation.

As well as catering, Compass is expanding into other areas including cleaning, security, building maintenance and office services.